Everyday, from grades one to seven, I would stand with my classmates at Christ the King Elementary School at the end of the day and recite these words...
Angel of God, my Guardian Dear
To whom God's love commits me here
Ever this day be at my side
To light, to guard, to rule, and guide.
And just as the "Amen" was slipping out of our mouths, the bell would ring and there was the thunderous movement to get outside and on the bus. Our prayer was, admittedly, habit and, whether said with the sweet voices of six-year-olds or the exaggerated efforts of 12-year-olds, was never really heartfelt. I don't know if any of us really considered the words we were saying or what we were praying for. Fortunately for us, our Guardian Angels were ready and willing - regardless of our enthusiasm - to be next to us, to be at our side, to light, to guard, to rule and to guide, even as we were running off to claim our seats on the school bus.
But who were
these angels? Who are
these angels? Who are these guardians who are so willing to be at our side? What have we done to deserve such protective companionship?
Well, the textbook answer, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church is that angels are "purely spiritual creatures, incorporeal, invisible, immortal, and personal beings endowed with intelligence and will. They ceaselessly contemplate God face-to-face and they glorify him. They serve him and are his messengers in the accomplishment of his saving mission to all."
Summing up, angels are:
1) First of all, lucky. Anyone who gets to "ceaselessly contemplate God face-to-face" has an excellent job.
2) Spiritual creatures with intelligence and will.
3) Messengers of God.
So here are these messengers of God - friends of God who contemplate him face to face - and they willingly
serve and save us. Whether we ask for it or not, whether our request is made with lacklustre prayer or with a deep devotion, we are loved and protected by our Guardian Angels. So I think we can add to that list...
4) Our friends.
Who else would give so much, care for us so tirelessly, stand by us, and come to us in our times of need but friends? But angels?
My inside sources (ie. niece and nephew) report back that, at the end of everyday, they stand with their classmates at Christ the King Elementary School and recite those words. Judging by the way they rattle off grace before meals, their Angel prayer might also be lacking in intention and devotion. But, still, they pray. And lucky for us, their Guardian Angels - their friends - are ready and willing to run off with them, to serve them and save them, or, at the very least, to help them claim the best seat on the school bus.
"Beside each believer stands an angel as a protector and shepherd leading him to life." (Saint Basil the Great)